This is another in a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiersmen/the vanguard, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity.
It is also partly intended to show images, be they paintings, statues or photographs of the countenances of men of yore. Because, quite frankly, many men wear the countenances of women these days: smiling, smirking, cooing, rolling their eyes, looking smug etc. It's a sign of the times, and by showing some images of men from the past, I hope to show some modern men why looking surly, frowning and giving hard-ball stares at people is something to do, something to practise.
|George Petrovich (aka Black George), 1816 (aged 59)|
Đorđe Petrović OSA (Serbian Cyrillic: Ђорђе Петровић, Serbian pronunciation: [dʑôːrdʑe pětroʋitɕ], Anglicized: George Petrovich), known as Karađorđe (Карађорђе, [kâradʑoːrdʑe], Black George[a]; 3 November 1768 – 24 July 1817), founded modern Serbia as the elected leader of the First Serbian Uprising (part of the Serbian Revolution) that aimed at liberating Serbia from the Ottoman Empire (1804–1813); he personally led armies against the Ottomans in several battles, which resulted in a short-lived state which he would administer as Grand Leader (Veliki Vožd) from 14 February 1804 to 21 September 1813, alongside the newly founded Narodna Skupština (People's Assembly) and the Praviteljstvujušči Sovjet (Governing Council), simulating a wholly functional state government in war-time.
Born into a poor family in Šumadija, part of the Sanjak of Smederevo (modern central Serbia), Đorđe began working as a servant for affluent Serbs and Turks, but after having killed a Turk, his family fled across the Sava into Syrmia, a Habsburg-controlled area. He rose to prominence in the Austrian army, participating in the liberation of the sanjak, which resulted in the short-lived Kingdom of Serbia (1788). He received a medal of honour for his efforts, and when the Austrian army was forced to retreat, and the Ottomans re-occupied Šumadija, he joined the Hajduks. He commanded a unit and fought the Ottomans until 1794, when he returned to his family.
In the following years the local janissaries grew stronger and seized the sanjak from the Sultan, imposing greater taxes and perpetrating violence against the population; as the janissaries feared the Sultan's retaliation as a possible task given to the Serbs, they executed hundreds of prominent Serbs in what would be known as the Slaughter of the Dukes (1804). Some 300 nobility assembled and elected Karađorđe as leader; by the end of the year the janissaries were defeated, and the Sultan praised the Serbs. However, when the pasha arrived in Serbia to take over the governance, he was killed. The struggle continued as a wide-scale revolt, the First Serbian Uprising, in which several battles were successfully fought against the Ottomans; a government was established, and Karađorđe abolished feudalism.
After the suppression of activities in 1813, Karađorđe and other leaders went into exile, while in 1815 Miloš Obrenović, a fellow rebel leader, initiated the Second Serbian Uprising. The second uprising ended in 1817, when Obrenović signed a treaty with the Ottomans and became the Prince of Serbia. Obrenović (who saw a threat in the possible return of popular Petrović) and the Ottomans (who despised him and feared more fighting) conspired and planned the assassination of Karađorđe. When Karađorđe returned in 1817 to start yet another uprising, he was deceived by a friend and killed; his head was sent to Istanbul and Obrenović retained his leadership.
Karađorđe founded the House of Karađorđević, the Serbian royal family, which would later gain the Serbian crown after the deposing of the rival House of Obrenović.
Exile, Death and aftermath
After some time, Karađorđe emigrated to Bessarabia, where he joined the Greek national liberation movement Filiki Eteria, where he became an active member. The Greeks were primarily interested in using the Serbian lands as base of the Greek operations.
This is another of the national heroes from the Balkans, who stood up and defended their country from the Turkish invaders, while the rest of Christendom sat by and watched it happen.
Check out some of the other entries from the 'Men of Yore' series:
King Alfred, the Great
John MacDouall Stuart
William 'Wild Bill' Cody
Duke of Viseu (Henry the Navigator)
Ludwig van Beethoven